Person accused of cruelty can’t retain dogs during probe: Karnataka HC

Court says animal has right to ‘get protection from human beings against inflicting unnecessary pain’

Citing right to dignity and fair treatment of animals under law, the Karnataka High Court has found fault with an order of a trial court in granting custody of seized dogs to their owner, who has been accused of treating them with cruelty, during the pendency of the case registered against him by the police.

“Right to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere and right to get protection from human beings against inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering is a right guaranteed to the animals under Section 3 and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act read with Article 51-A(g) and (h) [fundamental duties] of the Constitution of India,” the High Court observed.

Earlier order

Justice H.P. Sandesh passed the order on a petition filed by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), an NGO, challenging an order passed by the metropolitan magistrate’s court in giving custody of the dogs to their owner from whom they were seized based on a complaint that he was treating them cruelly.

The High Court found that the magistrate had ordered the handing over of the dogs to their owner, Shreyas, a resident of J.P. Nagar, for the technical reason that the investigation officer had handed over the dogs to CUPA without obtaining permission from the court.

However, the High Court said that the magistrate failed to notice that owner was breeding dogs without obtaining licence under the law, besides allegedly subjecting many female dogs and puppies to cruelty by confining them in an unsanitary kennel sans proper food, water and veterinary care.

Vet’s report

The magistrate should have considered the object of the PCA Act to protect the health and welfare of animals and the interpretation of this law by the apex court, the High Court said while referring to the report of the veterinarian that the dogs had sustained injuries in the custody of their owner.

While allowing the dogs to be under the custody of care centre of CUPA, the court said that there cannot be any order for payment of money to take care of the animals till the disposal of the case registered against the accused.

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